Years ago, the Homestead Highlander Invitational cross country meet was a high-powered "to be at" sort of event on the fall sports calendar.
But for a variety of reasons, it fell somewhat out of favor and unfortunately, just up and disappeared about eight or nine years ago.
However, there was a small resurrection Saturday at Tendick Park in Saukville, as coaches Homestead coaches Dan Claussen and Victor Vilar brought back a small form of the Highlander to smashing results.
That the girls won the meet behind individual champion Lauren Holtz and the boys saw leader Nate Routhier win his second race in as many tries was just icing on the cake in the coaches' eyes.
"Everybody who came had a good time, and would like to come back again," said boys coach Claussen. "People just love the park and the course. If we can, we'd really like to get it up to 10 or 12 teams next year."
"We get the word out, it'll be a really competitive-style meet," said girls coach Victor Vilar. "People who come here, just fall in love with the course."
The Highlanders will be at the Madison West Invitational on Saturday at Yahara Hills.
Homestead's girls won their four-team event with a 46-point total as Wauwatosa West was second with 49, Wauwatosa East third with 52 and Sussex Hamilton fourth with 71.
Holtz was 46 seconds clear of the field in 15:33 on the 4,000-meter course.
"She was up by 10 or 15 seconds at the 2,000-meter mark and then she just challenged herself," said Vilar. "It won't be long until she's an elite runner in the state."
Other scoring runners for the Highlanders included Keali Bjork in fourth (16:30), Alex Holtz in 10th (17:00), Meredith Frank in 11th (17:03) and Helen Lewis in 20th (17:38).
Also running were Erin Kirchner in 23rd (17:57) and Ashley Claussen in 24th (18:15).
For the boys, things were not quite as successful as despite Routhier's win, they were third in the team standings with 68 as defending state champion Brookfield Central won with 25, Wauwatosa East second with 46 and Hamilton fourth with 92.
"The less said the better," Claussen said.
But he said more about Routhier, who beat Central's Sam Poser in a thrilling stretch run by just a second in 16:38.
"His goal is simple," said Claussen. "He wants to win every race on the schedule. He just broke free with about 100 meters to go."
The only other Homestead varsity runner to break 18 minutes was Mike Cronce in 11th (17:55) while Kale Mason was 15th (18:10).
Claussen was pleased with the effort. Andrew Churchill won the JV race while Marty Bergquist was third.
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